At Cherry Blossom festivities in Washington, D.C., April 2005

There was no big, dramatic event that was a catalyst to my lifestyle change. At the end of my junior year of college, in May 2005,  I simply decided that I was tired of being fat and wearing plus-size clothes, so I returned to my hometown for the summer and got a gym membership. I started working out when time allowed, as I was balancing an internship and a part-time job. Most days that summer, I’d log 20 to 30 minutes on the elliptical machine, and it felt great. I don’t like the scale (I gauge my progress by how my clothes fit) but I did weigh myself after about a week of working out and the number was just over 300 pounds. I wore a size 24W. I am 5 feet, 8 inches tall.

Halloween 2005

Changing the way you’d lived for 20 years doesn’t happen overnight, though, and I continued to lose weight and learn about fitness and nutrition throughout my senior year of college. It was tough, given the fried foods, late-night pizza runs and delicious beer everywhere in a college town, but losing weight as a college student taught me the fine art of moderation.

July 2006

May 2007

My weight loss has taken longer than most because I have the strain of polycystic ovarian syndrome that causes insulin resistance. This was not diagnosed until September 2008, after hitting a six-month weight loss plateau. I take metformin, which is a generic version of glucophage,  to correct this and have had no issues since.

Christmas 2008

February 2009

 

In June 2009, I started running to switch up my fitness program. I never thought I’d be a runner, but in September 2009, I completed my first 5K race. I really enjoy running, and I’m excited for my future as a runner. (It still feels funny to call myself a runner!) 

I love working out, but eating well does not come easily to me — I love meats, cheeses, breads and sauces! This, actually is how I ended up weighing 300 pounds — I love food and eat for taste. Losing weight and changing my lifestyle taught me a different way of loving food — I still love to eat, I just eat healthier foods now. There are lots of vegetables I actually like (I never, ever ate veggies before) and even more that I’m learning to like.

As for the pizza, cheeseburgers, french fries and mozzarella sticks that I loved so much? I still love them. I still eat them — but I recognize that they are a treat and not something I can eat every day.  

I now weigh around 180 pounds, and the doctor who diagnosed me said that ideally, I should be in the 155 to 160 range. Even when it’s controlled, PCOS makes weight loss a little more difficult. To lose the last 20ish pounds, I’m focusing more on strength training and a low-carb, high protein diet.

Christmas 2009

My weight loss journey has shown me the power of positive thinking and taught me that above all else, health is priority No. 1. If you’re not healthy, you can’t experience life to the fullest — which is what I strive for everyday.

 

March 19, 2010

 

You can e-mail me at fashionablyfitashley@gmail.com

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